By Rex Hammock

I’m described by some as an early-adopter geek. I guess having @R as my Twitter username helps perpetuate that perception. But the focus of my interest is not on the “early” part of that description. My obsession with “the new” is as much about avoiding it as it is about adopting it.

It’s critical for us to dig deep into the new as early as possible so we can help our clients separate the help from the hype. To me, it’s important to obsess over the new so I can more confidently recommend why a client should continue investing in “the old.”

Over the years, I’ve learned that many of the most successful marketers zig while the rest of us zag. They are more focused on understanding the unique needs of their customers, products and brands than they are on the latest marketing, technology trends or what their competitors are doing.

Here’s an example of bold zigging while others are zagging—of stepping back and challenging the prevailing beliefs. Last week Procter & Gamble, the nation’s largest advertiser, reported they had cut $100 million in digital advertising during the previous quarter. The impact? “None,” the company’s CEO told the Wall Street Journal. (subscription:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that it’s a smart thing to abandon online advertising or digital media. Far from it, as digital media is a big part of the services we provide. However, I do think it’s time to challenge the conventional wisdom in your marketplace.

I am suggesting that some marketers consider publishing a print customer magazine rather than using their budgets to shovel more content onto the web—especially when that content-shoveling is focused on SEO rather than serving customers’ needs and adding value to their products.

I am suggesting that Facebook is a waste of time for many types of marketers, while great for others. The same goes for all social media.

I am suggesting that for some marketers, a 15-second how-to video can be more powerful than a 15-second GIF that goes viral.

I am suggesting that for you, it’s time to zig.


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